Unexpected Places

Almost always, when hope returns for me, it is because of The Helpers. You know who I mean, the people who just show up to do what is needed, who support and care and most often do it all without fanfare, without wanting acclaim. They fill me with hope, and restore my faith in humankind.

Imagine my surprise, my shock, that this time, it was nothing other than the Supreme Court of the US, who restored my hope. Two decisions, two days in a row, that make me think… maybe, maybe, things can turn around, maybe, maybe, we all stand a chance. Maybe. And it is about time.

ice cream

Mood: Definitely an ice cream kind of day!

I’m one of those people for whom Obamacare doesn’t quite go far enough. Frankly, I want the same health insurance I provide my senators with my tax dollars. It’s the least I should get. But, BUT… this nonsense about parsing the word “the”… thank goodness the Supreme Court ruled the right way. And now, please, VT, back away from this completely, totally incompetent state exchange, and let us have the Federal program.

I’m one of those people who chose not to marry. The reasons, whether not the right guy, not the right time, whatever, don’t matter, I chose not to. However, those who want to and are of age and consent, let them, and rejoice in it. In health and happiness, no matter their gender. I toast them, gladly.

Thank you, Supreme Court!! :-D

In other news, they found and killed one of the prison escapees, and are actively (based on the nonstop tv coverage, the word “frantically” comes to mind) searching for the second. The news they get in that area is our local news, too, so it has been a constant feed here, and since the report this afternoon the news desk has only taken breaks for commercials, nothing else has been shown. I’ll be glad when they get the second guy, this calms down to a dull roar and then disappears until the BOATS (based on a true story) movie hits one of the cable channels. That other than the escapee, so far everyone has remained safe, is a blessing and a miracle.

And in other, other news, the berry alert begins! Maybe tomorrow, maybe Sunday, some will be ripe for picking. You have been warned!

Six of One – Priceless

I recently read something about grief, that grief is the price of loving. I thought about that, a lot.

I don’t agree. Grief isn’t the price of love, it is the proof of love. It is the proof and life, of love. I’m sure of that.

Last night, it rained. Torrential, pounding, pouring rain. It was supposed to hit early evening, but it didn’t start until I was in bed, and it stayed through the night.

This morning it was grey, damp, as the rain dried, the skies cleared, and now, as expected… gorgeous. It is a beautiful, sunny, breezy, cool day. My favorite weather. Exactly as I knew it would be.

Today, six years ago, my Mom died. That day, too, was clear and breezy and cool.

There are things my mother does, to let me know she is thinking of me. The weather, my favorite weather, is one of them. I know she would like to change some things for me, “erase, fix” some others. There is only so much she can do. Weather is one of them.

peony

Mood: Cuddled

Of course, a candle is lit. Her favorite dinner will be shared. And this year, I received another gift from her.

Yesterday, the news out of Charleston, of hatred and racism and murder, hit me hard. Very hard. It’s not something I can ever really understand, can never make sense of. Last night I watched Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show, and his words, the entire show, gave me the perspective, the support, I needed.

How was that a gift from Mom? Oh, she watched it nightly, introduced me to it. And last night, somehow, rather than sleeping, I knew to turn it on. Actually, no somehow about it… Mom knew the show, and the torrential rain, were exactly what I needed.

Thank you, Mom.

I love you, Mom. Happy Birthday, my friend. ♥

When Life Gives You Bananas

Maybe “requires you to have” would be more accurate. But not as good a title. :-D

Bananas. As in: Bananas Applesauce Rice Toast. Yep, the BRAT diet, which can only mean one thing.

Friday night I was slammed with food poisoning. I mean… slammed. It wasn’t fun at all. :-(

As I was nibbling the corner of a piece of toast on Sunday, and thinking that it was going to get really old, really fast, I looked over at the bananas. They were brown… too brown to eat with any happiness. Then I looked at the toast again, and the banana, and… voila!!

cracker

Mood: Yes, I know, the toast has a stand-in.

It may not be some exotic spread or delicious jam, but… it worked. I was so pleased with myself, I had THREE sips of ginger ale! THREE! Do I know how to live it up, or what?

In other news, the prison is about 20 miles away. They have the same “local” news as we do, so it is constant chatter about the escaped convicts. Today they announced they are expanding the search into Vermont. I’m not worried, but it sure feels different knowing they may have crossed the lake. Sigh.

Everyone stay safe and healthy, please!

Not in Wonderland

I’ve never been afraid of death. Oh, I’m certainly not courting it, but… no fear, either. I’ve always thought of it as the next part of some journey, whatever that may be. And if it is, indeed, nothing, that’s okay, too.

When I was taking care of my Mom, we discussed this all the time. Death was sniffing around her heels, and she was terrified. I would be in bed with her, holding hands, and she’d say, “Resie, tell me… how can you not be afraid of it?”

I’m afraid of pain, most definitely. And I was afraid of how much I would miss my Mom, she was my best friend. But death, itself… no.

She would say, “I can’t imagine or want to be in any kind of world, without you in it!” and I would remind her that for 28 years, she did just fine without me, and we would always, always be connected. Always. I believe that.

As it came closer and closer, her fear intensified, and I would calm her. There were people, she said, who had come to get her, they were loud, scaring her even more. I suggested how she might talk with them, so they weren’t so loud, so frightening. It worked.

Why am I sharing this, now? Because there is something that terrifies me, to the core.

Alzheimer’s.

I saw “Still Alice” the other day, and no surprise that Julianne Moore was superb in this movie, she is a great actress. The basic story, without giving anything away: a brilliant woman, a scholar, discovers that she has Alzheimer’s.

I didn’t sleep that night. Or the next. I realized… this, even more than pain, terrifies me beyond control. It is what Big Brother in “1984” would use against me. It is what must truly be the very depths of hell, on earth.

Alzheimer’s.

No, I don’t have any reason for concern, though that never stops fear. And even though I got the book to read, in time I will see other movies, have other thoughts, see a creepy crawly, drop chocolate, and this won’t be so close, so strong. For now, though…

Alice. I didn’t realize how many books, movies, use that name so easily. When I was trying to come up with a title, I thought of “Go Ask Alice” and “Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore”. Maybe there aren’t so many, maybe they are just that good, that memorable. I’ll have to remember… Alice in a title may be a great omen, even if the story is a sad one.

On a lighter note:

discovery

Mood: I wouldn’t have found that note on Mother’s Day!

May all your discoveries be wonderful!

Grace Period

I don’t believe in coincidence, not at all. Oh, do I believe in serendipity! And not just because the NY restaurant with that name has Frrrozen Hot Chocolate. No, I think the Universe works in mysterious ways, things happen for reasons, and many of them, so very many of them, are happy reasons. Oh, yes!

serendipity
noun ser·en·dip·i·ty \ˌser-ən-ˈdi-pə-tē\

The art of making happy discoveries, of finding the pleasantly unexpected by chance or sagacity.

When my mother became ill years ago, I was befriended by someone paying it forward… she knew what was ahead of me, and hoped to provide some thought and a shoulder. She succeeded, along with great friendship and wisdom and amazing help and guidance. And lots of laughter, too.

Our friendship grew, and we were amazed at some of the commonalities, things that many would never have heard of, places we had been, family names, so many things.

One such thing… she lives very near where I grew up.

Visiting her meant, well, going home. I could drive past my old house, the schools, the shops and restaurants that held so many memories for me, of my grandparents, my mother, my childhood. For the past several years, I had a connection to the past, one I would never have expected. And created new memories as we stopped at some of those places, took trips into Manhattan, indulged me when I visited other friends there.

About a month ago, one last visit, one last trip. Today, my friend closed on her house, leaving the town and the state behind. They have moved on to their next chapter, one that will make them very happy in so many ways.

I lose my words at times, and now is one of them. I can’t adequately express my gratitude and love to this friend and her unmatched generosity, who opened her heart and home to me, who included me with her family, who has made me laugh until I cried, and waited as I cried until I laughed. She gave me the most unexpected gift, one I didn’t know I needed, a grace period of letting go of some of the past.

I will always be so very grateful for this amazing grace, this lasting friendship. ♥

Loved

There was a column in a local paper, a daughter writing about her mother, who died in 1991. The author noted that years ago there was some study that talking to your mother lowers stress, chatting with her online doesn’t. She wrote, “The theory is that the sound of her voice is calming; what she says is not that important.”

It isn’t any surprise that I talk to my mother all the time. All. The. Time. And I know she hears me, even though sometimes she remains stubbornly silent. That’s okay, she’s telling me I know the answer, what to do.

I was thinking about the article today, and how to get a sign from my mother, one that didn’t involve laundry and tissues. That it is cooler than the 93 degrees of the past three days, was that her sign?

I went on with my morning, my day, and was walking through one room into another when I was drawn to a moving box (yes, there are still boxes yet to be unpacked. How many years? Don’t. Ask.) and opened it. I laughed at the serendipity because just the other day I was thinking it was time to move some items on to other people, and there were some in the box, how good to find them! Time to empty the box, which I did, into a much smaller, much tidier box. There were some papers, a recipe, a writing pad, and at the very bottom of the box, a note. From my mother.

note

Mood: What a lovely sight…

As I was reading it the skies opened, and the rain we so desperately need started. I read over and over again, “Dear Resie… Love Mom”, way more than a sign. Way, way more.

Last year, I posted about Katie Hafner’s New York Times Mother Daughter word cloud. I looked at the cloud, and saw the word I added: Missed.

Today, I added a new word: Loved. ♥

Run For The Tim Tams

tim tam horse

Mood: Hyperventilating. Alllll those Tim Tams. Sigh.

It was a tradition for decades, gathering with friends to watch the Kentucky Derby. We’d toss in a dollar and pick names from a hat, and cheer on our horse. Hours of talk and laughter and food and beverages, and a few minutes of watching a race.

Some traditions end for all the right and not so right reasons, and that one did, too.

I create my own traditions – I always listen to this song the day of the Derby.

Your fate is delivered
Your moment’s at hand
It’s the chance of a lifetime
In a lifetime of chance
And it’s high time you joined in the dance
It’s high time you joined in the dance
~ Dan Fogelberg, Run For The Roses

How wonderful this photo is, Tim Tams were named after the 1858 Kentucky Derby winner. (Even if they are NOT sold in the US, as the Facebook page claims. Okay, okay, perhaps they are… IF you have a Target store nearby. We are the ONLY state without a Target. Pffffft.) Seeing this horse, well… perhaps I wouldn’t add eating Tim Tams to the tradition this day, after all.

But dancing, oh yes, it is high time. Ohhhh, yes!

Choosing Sides

I have a decision to make. A big heavy one.

Sigh.

I always sleep on the same side of the bed. Always. And I am always right up against the very edge, sometimes I have to tell myself to move over because I fear falling off. Seriously. I could trade in this Queen-sized bed for a cot and still have room to spare, with how much of it I use. But… that sure won’t be happening. No, no, no!

blankiegirl

Mood: I sleep on the left side of the bed, so photo-right side.

I am supposed to rotate the mattress every month. Yeah, as if THAT happens. The last time I rotated it, well, I think I wrote about it, here.

The mattress weighs 341,687 pounds. At least, it did 2 1/2 years ago. I think it may have gained weight since then. I’m sure of it. Now and again I have to nudge it, push it, and, well… I think it has doubled in weight. Or close to it. Or at least.

I don’t know if I should rotate it alone. I mean, I could, but I don’t know if my back would ever forgive me. It’s rather annoyed with me, still, for succumbing to The Littlest Goddess wanting “UP” and then “DOWN” several many numerous times last weekend.

I notice, though, that something has to change. My side feels… softer… than the other side. Last night as my back was complaining and I was wondering if the mattress has anything to do with it, I realized… I could sleep on the other side of the bed. I could do that.

So I moved some pillows and the bear and two little toss blankets, items I don’t remove from the bed (why would I, I’m not disturbing them in the least!) and when I finished with all that about an hour later, I rolled over to the wrong other side of the bed. And tried to sleep, and eventually did.

My back seemed… happy!

Do I rotate the mattress (and put my chiropractor’s daughter through post-graduate school) or sleep on the wrong other side of the bed? I mean, there is nothing that says I must sleep on the side I do, nothing at all. I just always… have. (At least, I always have since living in Vermont. When I lived in New York (different beds) I slept on the other side, which then was right, and this side would be wrong. Hmmm… I need to think about that.)

Would I have a different perspective on life, on the morning, on the day as it ends, if I crawled in on the other side? Would it shake things up at all, and if so, would it be in a good way? And if I do THAT, do I also swap all the nightstand stuff so the nightstand light and iPad and tissues and all the things that live right next to me still would, when I’m in bed? Or do I go for broke and *GASP!* leave them where they are? Or do I, you know… just rotate the mattress?

Sigh.

PS: Ooooooh.. what if I just rotated the topper? Maybe that would make a difference?!

That Which We Call A Rose

Though it was over a month ago, I was quite interested in the outcome of the lawsuit Marvin Gaye’s family filed against Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke. They claimed that the Pharrell/Thicke song “Blurred Lines” (perhaps aptly named!) was an infringement of Marvin Gaye’s song, “Got to Give It Up”. The Gaye family won.

Whether they should have or not, if there was intent, what Pharrell had been listening to, I don’t know, Ihave no opinion. I do remember the first time I heard “Blurred Lines” – I thought it was a cover/mashup of “Got to Give It Up”. Doesn’t mean much, of course, but it was my first impression.

How this plays out, what this means to music, well, that is going to be interesting. There are only twelve notes. Twelve! That’s not very many. Put the notes into chords and there are thousands. Thousands and thousands! Still, with many relying on a precious few, it is no wonder so many songs sound alike.

Need proof? The Axis of Awesome took care of it for us, with Four Chord Song. If I nail those four chords, I’ll be a piano playing pro!! In no time!

Oh, and if you prefer classical music and the 8 cello notes, there is Pachelbel’s Rant.

(Clicking on the links will open youtube – they are fun! Really! And if you click on the photo or mood above, it links to another post.)

How songwriters are going to sort through this landmine, how anyone is going to feel they are on solid ground creating new songs without risking law suits, it is going to be interesting. I wonder what music will sound like a few years from now. Sigh.

This seems like a digression, please stick with me…

Around the same time, Starbucks announced their “Race Together” program, where store baristas were to write things on cups to initiate discussions about race with customers. (They have since stopped that requirement, and the program has changed.) The comments in the news and social media were interesting, with many saying how it feels to be a customer in the store whose name is mispronounced, and the (not so) subtle bigotry of it. I bet at least sometimes, it is bigotry, racism. And I bet sometimes, it is completely innocent.

As someone who is uniquely named (yes, I am the only one in the world with my names) only twice when my name was called did anyone else look up, turn around, respond. Both times, it was a nickname for them, not their given name. I’m used to being uniquely me, the one and only me. I’m used to my name always being said wrong, any of my three names being said wrong, so much that I typically give a different name at restaurants, it’s just easier. Still, I have an inkling how I would feel, were I to know it was intentional, know it was based on hatred.

And last, about words and what we say…

Why is it that when Libyans are fleeing in droves, boatloads, the media is calling them “migrants” and not “refugees”? The ship that just capsized, all those who died… isn’t that, alone, proof that they are “refugees” and not merely “migrants”?

Sigh.

And I Can Dance to It, Four

record store day

Mood: Playing that funky music…

Yes, I am listening to vinyl. Of course I am. But, I almost couldn’t. Well, not easily. No, no, the turntable is still working… phew. And I would know, immediately, how and with what to replace it. Not going through that again.

This time…

Not long ago I smelled an electrical something burning. I checked every plug, every outlet, and everything was innocent. I chalked it up to, well… okay, okay, I just ignored it. Sigh.

A few days later, I reached for the stereo (sigh… sound system…) remote and… nothing. Nothing! It didn’t respond. Pfffft. It probably needed new batteries, no shock. I opened the compartment to discover that a battery had blown up in there. Sniffle. Totally swollen, and everything covered in that white icky stuff. That explained the electrical burning smell!

Removed the batteries, cleaned it up, put in new ones, and… nothing. Tried again and again with different batteries. Nothing. Nothing! *wails*

I searched and eBay to the rescue, sort of. I could find the remote I needed, as long as I was willing to pay an arm and two legs for it. Not-made-in-decades remotes are pricey. Very very pricey. But without the remote, there were things I wouldn’t be able to do at all. It wasn’t just about ease, it was function. Sigh. I had no choice.

Or, did I? I wasn’t ready to cave. I cleaned the battery compartment again, and still nothing. Then I thought about it, how it was the contacts. With nothing to lose, I grabbed cotton swabs and vinegar and scrubbed the contacts thoroughly. Let them dry, and… VOILA! Batteries worked!! Remote worked!! Wooo hooo! Wooo hoooo! YAYAY, me!

I’m listening to vinyl and dancing and checking for rainbows. The sun is bright and it is raining and it feels very right that there would be rainbows on Record Store Day. It really does. Especially since is is getting more difficult to even make vinyl – the machines needed are older than dirt. They deserve rainbows, too.

And if today happens to be your birthday know I will be enjoying cake in your honor. I will!